By Brenda Meadows
The saying goes, “if you can’t bring the mountain to Mohammed, bring Mohammed to the mountain.”
Of course there was no real ‘mountain,’ nor was ‘Mohammed,’ there, but The Rose House, 673 Spring Creek Road in Branson did some moving and shaking on April 27, when it hosted a parade for its residents.
The parade consisted of family members, friends and strangers in decorated cars. They were honking, shouting, greeting and showing appreciation for residents of The Rose House.
The parade plan came as a result of Manager Jennifer Jischke and Rose House owner John Higgins looking for a way to have residents communicate with friends and family members without putting them in harms way or compromising city ordinances regarding COVID-19. Once in was decided, the house staff helped contact people and plan parade logistics.
“We reached out to families of residents and friends of the residents, home churches and the community,” Jischke said. “We had the parade so that residents could see their family and friends. Since we are on lockdown due to the coronavirus, we are not allowing visitors in the building so this was a way for them to see their loved ones.”
When house residents learned of the parade, they made signs of unusual sizes and with unique quotes. They anticipated the procession.
The Branson Fire Department EMT rescue car led the parade of decorated vehicles. A siren, blowing firetruck pulled up the rear.
When Resident Sharon LeDuc saw how many decorated cars there were, and how people even dressed for the celebration, she got “emotional.”
“Yes I get choked up talking about it,” LeDuc said. “I loved it. I was so impressed. We thought we might get 8-10 cars but I think there were 30, plus. I was also impressed with the number of people who decorated their cars. We all had signs and we waved them. It was just very, very nice. Especially since we’ve been hunkered d own here since March. It was nice to see other people’s faces.”
Co-Owner Kiersten Blanton, from Kansas City, came to Branson to help Higgins, her father, out during the city COVID-19 quarantine. In March, The Rose House staff not only had to be tested for the coronavirus and quarantined before continuing to work there they are part of the house quarantine and are basically living at the Rose House.
“I came to give some of the staff a break. I love it. It is like a whole house full of grandparents.” Blanton said. “I was so excited about the parade and its double opportunities. There were signs for firefighters and EMTs, churches, it was overwhelming. There was music playing outside. We had a nice front porch event. It reminds you of things that are most important when you all are on quarantine.”
And among those things that become most important is human contact.
“The families had a great time,”Blanton said. “They can’t touch their family members.”
She spoke of one man who was a resident and almost daily came up to the front desk to ask if there was any mail for him. There was not, but some of the staff asked their friends to send him cards.
“When you think about it, send your grandparents (or parents) a letter, call them, love them,” Blanton said. “We aren’t promised tomorrow.”
When asked if she sees future parades at The Rose House Jischke said, “Yes, depending on how long this virus keeps us on lockdown. If it still keeps our doors closed for awhile, I will definitely plan another.”
And one resident didn’t think it was such a bad idea.
“If you have to be quarantined, this is the place to be,” said Resident Lorraine Ziegenfuss.